Conference planning is equal parts rewarding and exhausting. Depending on your level of experience and the size of the conference, planning can take anywhere from several months to a year. We’ve put together this guide to give you some creative ideas and some helpful resources to make sure that your event planning has a strong start.
1. Select Your Event Venue
The venue is foundational in terms of getting your planning started. Popular venues will typically have popular dates booked 9-12 months in advance. There are many large, annual events that even have their venues booked up to 3 years in advance!
Choosing the best venue for your event will often depend on your event size, theme, and accessibility requirements. Here are some great resources that deal with venue selection specifically:
- CVENT – List of Canadian Conference Centres
- Bizzabo – 10 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Conference Venue
- How to Plan a Meeting or Conference in an Unfamiliar Location
- How To Save Money On An Event Venue
- How To Choose A Meeting Room
2. Decide On Your Content
We’ve put content as #2 on this list because finding the right content can be difficult, depending on the theme or topic of your conference. High profile keynote speakers, celebrities, and relevant panelists can be in high demand so it’s important to reach out to them sooner rather than later.
If you’re doing an annual corporate summit, you may only be looking for a keynote speaker. If you’re hosting a public event, you may need to start looking for all of your emcees, speakers, panelists, entertainment, etc.
Here are some helpful link to find the right presenters for your event:
- Eventbrite – Sourcing Speakers For Your Next Event
- The Balance – Select The Perfect Keynote Speaker
- Bizzabo – Three Methods To Find the Best Keynote Speakers
3. Find The Best Sponsors
Sponsors are vital for all events. Finding a sponsor will help determine the budget that you have for your venue, content, food, audio visual, etc. It may be possible to fund everything within your organization, but finding a sponsor can be very beneficial. Not only do sponsors bring a capital investment, but if you make the right partnership they may also be an asset on the planning side or helpful with in-kind donations as well.
Sponsorship typically works the best when you find a sponsor that is related to the theme of your event. Here are some guides on how to help find the right sponsor for your event:
- Marcato Festival – 10 Steps For Getting Sponsorship for Your Festival or Event
- Social Tables – 6 Innovative Ways To Attract Sponsors To Your Event
- The Balance – How To Get Corporate Sponsors For Your Event
4. Provide Delicious Food
When it comes to event buzz, food is often the centre of attention. Good, bad, or ugly, food is one of the most memorable, shareable, and discussed parts of every event. Are you just providing water? Are you providing a nacho plate the size of a conference table? Whatever you provide, it will be remembered and enjoyed. Here are some resources for you to consider when deciding on the food for your upcoming conference.
- Waiter.com – Make The Food Count – Five Conference Catering Ideas To Help Events Stand Out
- The Best Menu Ideas For A Conference
- 26 Catering Ideas For Events & Meetings
5. Hire The Best Audio Visual
Audio visual can make or break your event when it counts the most. When the room is full, your guests are seated, and the keynote speaker takes the stage – you want to be confident that the audio visual equipment will support the topic and enhance the presentation without distracting the audience.
There is a lot involved with audio visual and what you have at your event is typically decided either by budget or by the needs of the presenter. Large screens can make the content easy to see. Lighting can create energy and enhance your brand. Sound systems need to amplify the content to a comfortable listening level and without screeching or feeding back.
Here are some resources to help you hire the best audio visual provider for your event:
- 4 Steps to Choosing the Right A/V Company
- You Don’t Need To Use The Hotel A/V Company!
- Lighting Ideas for Corporate Events
6. Focus On Event Engagement
Once your event is underway, you will want to focus on event engagement and the overall experience of your guests. This is when all of your hard work and planning will pay off so make sure to engage your guests and make sure that they’re having a good time.
Here are some helpful resources for event engagement:
We hope this article is helpful. Please contact us if you need any help with Audio Visual at your upcoming event in Vancouver or the surrounding areas. Our entire team works extremely hard to make sure that you get the best experience possible.